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Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine

The self-declared mayor of Slaviansk announced his men were holding an American journalist with Israeli citizenship.
Arrival of self-declared mayor of Sloviansk at town's administrative offices in eastern Ukraine.

Arrival of self-declared mayor of Sloviansk at town's administrative offices in eastern Ukraine.
Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot / BBC / Graham Phillips

An Israeli-American journalist has been kidnapped in Ukraine and is being held by separatists there, according to a report by the HBO-owned online news site Vice News.

Pro-Russian separatists were quoted Tuesday in the report, admitting they were holding reporter Simon Ostrovsky in the city of Slaviansk.

The news was announced by the self-declared mayor of the city, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who held a news conference and told reporters “his men” were holding an American journalist with Israeli citizenship.

Ponomaryov did not specifically name Ostrovsky. But other journalists working in the area told Reuters that a group with him had been grabbed by the mayor’s men on Monday, and later freed. Unlike the rest, however, Ostrovsky was not released.

BBC journalist Graham Phillips uploaded a YouTube video documenting his efforts to track down Ostrovsky.

In the video, Phillips is heard requesting information about ‘Simon, Simon journalist’ from the self-declared mayor. Ponomaryov gruffly responds in guttural Russian that Ostrovsky will not be released any time soon. The footage is shaky because the cameraman is being knocked around by the numerous armed military guards, who are brandishing AK-47s as they threaten the news team. It is clear that Ostrovsky is being held hostage, and that his life is likely in danger – at best.

In some ways, the entire nightmarish scene brings to mind the hostage crisis years ago in Uganda. All the other journalists were let go – but the American with Israeli citizenship was held.

The kidnapped journalist has produced stories on Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and the situation in Judea and Samaria.

For the past several weeks he has been covering the crisis in Ukraine. The last time he was heard from, he posted a tweet on the Twitter social networking site during the separatist mayor’s news conference on Monday. In that post, he commented that a woman working with the mayor’s group had “called us all liars” and asked for donations to pay for the funerals of ‘militants’ killed the previous day in a clash.

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


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17 Responses to “Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine”

  1. If he’s Israeli he’s Israeli, and NOT American.

  2. OMG! The Russian Faschist Separatists are horrible… May he be alive after all…

  3. Les Buss says:

    I can just imagine Obama the muslim will do anything to help

  4. @Clifford Webb- yes, he can be Israeli & American. He can have dual citizenship.

  5. Clifford Webb what’s wrong with being an Israeli American?

  6. Prayers for his safe return.

  7. Ok mr Obama what are u going to do about this.

  8. Peter Korman says:

    According to friends from Poland, kidnapping and extortion of non-citizens is an organized industry within The Ukraine. Nothing new here, except an American is the victim.

  9. Dislike. G-d please don’t let this start again. Return this man safe I pray.

  10. Lyna Degen says:

    What a disgrace! Are we living again in the times of Bulgakov? May be Putin is trying to become the next Stalin.

  11. Lyna Degen says:

    What a disgrace! Are we living again in the times of Bulgakov? May be Putin is trying to become the next Stalin.

  12. I have an israeli passport,an american passport and a British passport. Why do you say this journalist is just Israeli if he has dual citizenship? Are you a complete bonehead?

  13. He is a victim of the Russian GRU kidnaping business those days. What does it to do with Ukraine, when he is in the hands of Kremlin’s killer gangs there?!

  14. He can have dual citizenship, so yes, it is possible to be both.

  15. Michael K-n says:

    As seen from Australia, your both suggestions are rather sarcasm then a sane serious message.

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